September 06, 2006

America's Cup Yachts Return to Sag Harbor

The Sag Harbor Charity Cup Challenge returns to Sag Harbor this weekend. The Challenge will pit six classic America's Cup racing yachts against each other to benefit 18 local charities.

The boats featured in The Challenge are all 12-meters, the class that was adopted by the America's Cup after World War II. Competing in Sag Harbor this weekend will be the Intrepid, winner of the America's Cup in 1967 and again in 1970, the 1962 America's cup winner, Weatherly, and former America's Cup competitors American Eagle, Columbia, Heritage and Nefertiti.

Depending on the conditions, the race committee expects to hold three to four races each day with the winner of each day's series going on to compete Sunday afternoon for the Sag Harbor Charity Cup. The races will be held in Noyac Bay with the championship race taking place off the Sag Harbor Break Water.

Teams will consist of 14 members. Each of the six America's Cup yachts comes with a captain and crew, and local sailors can participate to the degree they feel comfortable: hauling lines, cranking winches and working to help their team win.

Among the teams this year is an all-women crew that is racing for the South Fork Breast Health Coalition. Other charities represented are the Gwen L. Kosinski Foundation, the Children's Museum of the East End, the Bay Street Theatre and other charities for historic and environmental preservation and youth sailing.

Last year Kew Management, racing aboard the Intrepid for CMEE, narrowly defeated The American Hotel on American Eagle, racing for the Bay Street Theatre, in an exciting final that was so close it prompted a post-race challenge to determine the winner.

There will be a Gala Beach Party on Saturday night where guests will enjoy dinner, a raw bar, open bar for beer and wine, dancing to a Caribbean band and an auction to further benefit the charities. Tickets to the Gala are open to the general public for $150. There will also be spectator boats that will leave from the Long Warf to chase the race.

The Sag Harbor Charity Cup takes place just before the Sag Harbor Annual Harbor Fest, which takes place the following weekend. The Harbor Fest opens September 15 with an old-fashioned lobster bake to benefit the Sag Harbor Whaling Museum, and ends on September 17 with a clam-shucking contest on the Long Warf.

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